Milan School Criticised for Banning Pupils from Fasting for Ramadan

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 15: Josmar Aguero's classroom during a lesson on the first day of the new school year on September 15, 2020 in Turin, Italy. Italian children returned to the classroom as most schools reopened six months after they closed to curb the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Italy was …
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A school association in Milan has banned pupils from fasting during Ramadan, arguing that children end up fainting in class.

The dean of the Comprehensive Institute Ermanno Olmi in Milan, which comprises three schools catering to primary school and secondary school children, issued a notice stating the health risks associated with young children not eating or drinking between dawn and dusk.

The document also notes that the school would not shy away from “reporting to the competent authorities” parents who force their children to fast, a stance that has led to controversy, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

The Italian-language website La Luce, which is run by Coordination of Islamic Associations of Milan coordinator Davide Piccardo, compared the school’s policy to the oppression of the Uighur Muslims by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Last year, the CCP banned the observance of Ramadan among Uighur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang, with those taking part in fasting risking being sent to prison after the Communist Party labelled fasting as a sign of religious extremism.

Ramadan fasting has been an issue in schools in other European countries in recent years as well. In the UK in 2016, some schools had accommodated Muslim pupils by altering the exams timetable during Ramadan.

In Germany, the President of the German Teachers’ Association Heinz-Peter Meidinger complained in 2018 that fasting during Ramadan had led to pupils being exhausted in class.

He noted that parents of Muslim pupils had also requested that their children not take exams during Ramadan.

Franziska Giffey, Germany’s Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, commented on the issue, saying: “Children have to drink and eat regularly, otherwise they can no longer follow lessons attentively.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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